Intro to Professional Headshot Photography

There is a time and a place to take the things that you enjoy seriously and see where, and how far this small hobby/ opportunity may be able to take you in the future.  I have a love for photography and I am ready to open up the books and see what I an do.  In order to do this I have started reading a book on headshots by a well known photographer John Hart.  I say well known due to me reading his book, I really have not followed his work before then, but then again never really was interested in dabbling in headshots.  However I have found this first couple of pages very interesting.  I thought I would post something about it  as I do have a love for writing as well.


Apparently the standard head shot is an 8×10 black and white  professionally photographed  image, sometimes referred to as a “glossy” even though he states that  the image is normally printed on matte paper.  What is interesting is that he claims that a perfect headshot is a glimpse into whom the person is… so too much make up and over the top hairstyling takes away from the shot as casting directors will see real quick if this person in the photograph is the same as the photograph or a fake.  (real important for certain parts and roles)

There are four types of headshots– commercial, legit, industrial and glamour.

Commercial Headshot, is personality projection according to Mr. Hart this is a very relaxed and even outdoorsy type of shoot.  Casual clothes should be worn for these type of shoots.  Pastel colors are best, other considerations are open collared shirts, denim, khaki, and tan which works really well with the black and white shots,  remember these are just recommendations based on John Harts eye. (good information to practice with)

Legit Headshot,  These type of shots are supposed to be geared towards theater, they can also be used for film according to Hart.  He states that these shots should be a bit more softer and show sincerity.  These type of shots  should have strong eye contact presence with the camera.  The dress style is a little bit more elegant than the commercial headshot, however it should not be so relaxed, for all tense and purposes it should show a softer more professional side.  Lighting is very important for this type of headshot it should include a focused key light with a slightly softer backlight on the subjects hair.  Which gives the casting director an even better shot to look at under lighting circumstances.

Industrial Headshot, These shots are used for work in industrial and promotional film companies.  Trade shows, and events use these shots as well. Because of the nature of these type of shoots a very conservative  dress style is used as these type of headshots reflect the business world.  They should exude intelligence, success, and executive status with a touch of sincerity since some of these shots are used as executive portraits

Glamour Headshot, These shots usually exude sex appeal according to Hart, you should not have or over do this aspect.  Subject should have just enough to show that its there

Ladies and gentlemen this is just a summary of the introduction to John Harts Professional Headshots:  How to make money shooting portfolios for actors.  I hope this helps you along your photographic journeys and hope to see some of your works in the future.  Stay tuned for more chapter reviews of this book.


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